It’s a very simple procedure. Take your debit card from an American bank, insert into a cash machine anywhere in Britain and withdraw British pounds.

Two cautions:

1. The keypads are only marked with numbers, so if your Pin is a word, be sure to memorize the numbers that correspond to the letters on a phone key pad before you leave the States. If you forget,  you may be able to figure it out by looking at the key pad on a mobile phone.

2. Be sure to notify all your banks and credit cards before you leave home that you are going to be traveling in England or they may freeze your account because of the unusual activity.

Cash machines are available all over Britain. Your first stop, when you get off the plane, should be at a cash machine in the airport. Don't ask for directions to an ATM. That term isn’t used anywhere in the UK and no one will know what you’re talking about unless they work frequently with tourists. What you are looking for is a Hole in the wall.

The international networks your debit card can use are usually marked on your card. If not, check with your bank before you leave the States to find out what they are. Look at the names or symbols displayed on the Hole in the wall to be sure that machine works with your card.

Many banks in the UK do not charge a fee for withdrawing money from a Hole in the wall but some

cash machines will charge you. If charges will be imposed, that information will be on the machine.



A sign beside a cash machine

  at a stop on the motorway.




A blow-up of the detail at the bottom of the sign.



The United Kingdom is part of the European Union but it has never adopted the Euro as its currency. Its monetary unit is the pound (£), which is equal to 100 pence. Pounds come in paper notes and £1 and £2 coins. The smallest note is £5. Pence, always referred to as “P,” come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 pence coins.

The pound was decimalized in 1971, which made such coins as shillings, farthings, and sixpence obsolete.


Here’s how to find out how much a dollar is worth against the

Great British pound (GBP)

Dream Vacation in England: Money

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                                             ©2009 JoAnne Stewart Wetzel